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Old 07-25-2011, 01:13 AM   #1
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brand new to saltwater aquariums

Okay I know this is going to be a pretty long post but I really need some help and advice. For the past 5 months or so I've been housing a Green Spotted Puffer in a 20 gallon tank with a SG of around 1.018. Well, I feel like he needs an upgrade, even though he's still only about 2 and a half inches long, but I want to go full marine with the new tank so that I can have some more fish than just him. I'm gunna be going with a 40 gallon breeder tank most likely but before I buy ANYTHING I wanna go over everything here and make sure I've done all of my research correctly and that I know what I'm doing.

Okay so first thing's first, I'm gunna get the tank. Then I plan on getting about 20lbs of live sand with 20lbs of crushed coral to mix together simply because I like the look of it and have read that too much live sand can cause your tank to crash if it is seeded "too much". Then I'm going to get about 30 pounds of base rock and 10 pounds of live UNcured rock. Then I'm going to get a powerhead and some more decor for the tank and basically I think I'll be ready to go. I don't want a protein skimmer because I honestly don't have the money for one. I'd rather do water changes more often than purchase a protein skimmer. I also feel like I'll be okay since it's only gunna be a 40 gallon tank.

So I'm gunna fill my tank up about 6 inches or so with dechlorinated (with SeaChem prime) tap water with a SG of 1.021 and add the sand and coral substrate to the water.

Then I'm gunna wait till it settles a bit and fill the rest of the tank up most of the way with more dechlorinated tap water with a SG of 1.021 as well.

Then I'm gunna add my baserock and put the UNcured live rock on top of it.

I'm also gunna add some more decor (caves, fake corals, ect.)

I'll then add my powerhead (need help on figuring out what type and what output). I figure one will be enough because, again, it's only a 40 gallon tank and I'm really on a tight budget.

I'll also turn on my 200 watt heater and set it to around 79 degrees.

Then I wait.....

If I'm not mistaken the dead matter in the live rock will be released into the water, causing an ammonia spike.

The bacteria in the tank will then build up within the live rock and live sand in order to turn the ammonia into nitrites which will result in my ammonia levels dropping down to zero and my nitrite levels spiking.

The bacteria will then build up even more, turning the nitrites into nitrates and at this point, once my ammonia levels and nitrite levels are reading zero, the live rock, live sand, and base rock will all be seeded with the bacteria that can sucessfully carry out the nitrogen cycle in my tank. At this point I can slowly begin to add fish.

I assume I'll only add my green spotted puffer, a false percula clown or two, a yellowtail damsel or two, and maybe one other fish.

I'll do 10% water changes weekly and monitor the water parameters as well.

Now, with all that being said, do I know what I'm doing? Am I going to have any unexpected suprises? PLEASE inform me on anything I didn't cover in this post, but don't be too mean because I'm a beginner and I'm learning and that's why I'm here=] Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:53 AM   #2
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Sounds like you are taking proper care of the GSP. Just hope that your puffer will accept tank buddies.

Not sure about FOWLR though.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:32 AM   #3
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Well if he doesn't get along with the tank mates I'm just gunna leave him in the 20g tank until he really really needs an upgrade and then I'll get him his very own 40g or something.

But does everything I said in the post make sense? Am I headed in the right direction?
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #4
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You are doing perfectly. Thank you for doing research and not just hoping someone tells you everything you need. Protein skimmers are basically for reef tanks and not even necessary then. I'm not sure if you covered this but you need a hydrometer or refractometer. You might also want to add a little bit of crushed fish food to help get the ammonia to spike.

I'm also not sure what you're going to do with filtration. You could do a refugium or just a HOB filter if you don't want to go down the refugium road.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:51 AM   #5
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Okay, yeah I figured I didn't really NEED a protein skimmer. Maybe in the future when I have more money. I've already got a hydrometer but I'll need to get a refractometer. And yeah I planned on throwing a dead table shrimp in the tank to get the ammonia spike really going.

I have a good HOB AquaClear 50 filter that I can use but I was told that it would be pointless to keep a filter with the liverock because the liverock takes care of ALL the biological process and all the filter does is trap food debris and other junk that just allows for more nitrates to build up.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:06 PM   #6
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Well, I don't have any experience with having just live rock as the filtration, but you would have to siphon the detritus from the sand and live rock. As far as a powerhead, you should get 2 strong ones so that food won't settle on the bottom before it is eaten.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:07 PM   #7
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Im running 2 HOB's on my 90g no skimmer (80lb LR) i have 6 fish and 9-12 corals you can run the hob it helps to clear up you water i rinse the hob's filters in my PWC water it gets any food ,crap or whatever out. my nitrAites never go over 10ppm even if i skip a week on the PWC's (10g every Sun.)
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:12 AM   #8
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If I decided to just do a 20 gallon nano FOWLR tank, no corals, maybe some clowns, inverts, and a starfish, what should I get? What kind of powerhead and how many? How much live rock? How much live sand? How often will I need to do water changes? Will it be hard to maintain due to how small the tank is??
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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I have tanks ranging from 4g to 125g and find I spend the most time on my 4g pico! The smaller tanks are cool but they do require extra attention as water parameters can go south in a hurry in a smaller amount of water.

29g Biocubes and Nano cubes are a great start in my opinion, they are a little bigger and come with almost all the equipment you'd need to start up. I have a 29g cube and I love mine. Just added a powerhead and heater adn I'm ready to go,
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #10
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so do you need a skimmer or not
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